When I think “detox,” I imagine guzzling down profuse amounts of cayenne pepper-spiked lemonade, concoctions of cold-pressed spinach, rutabaga and ginger, and salt water flushing my system into oblivion, while dry brushing my skin to within an inch of its life. It’s safe to say I don’t associate body detoxification with a good time. However, I do know that it’s important to rid myself of toxins accumulated via food, drink and pollution. It helps the body feel better, de-bloats puffy, swollen skin and brightens a lifeless complexion.
So when I heard through the gossip grapevine that countless celebrities get regular lymphatic drainage to cleanse their bodies from the inside out, I was intrigued. And when I become intrigued, I make moves. My first? To make an appointment with a masseuse who specializes in the treatment.
Manual lymphatic drainage, which involves light, gentle touches all over your body, assists the circulation of waste products from the cells into the bloodstream where they are carried to the liver to be flushed out of the body through the bowels, says Serge Zhukov, body therapist at the Thibiant Spa in Beverly Hills, CA, who performed my massage.
Plus, it not only helps the body detox through the removal of waste products; and toxins, it helps patients heal from post-plastic surgery procedures by ridding the body of excess fluid from the body’s tissue. Zhukov says many of his clients come to him post liposuction and body contouring in order to aid in the healing process and bring down inflammation.
Boston plastic surgeon Jeffrey Spiegel, MD, adds that dealing with swelling and fluid accumulation after a cosmetic procedure is an imperative part of the healing process and manual lymphatic drainage is key. “Getting fluids out is very important. If you leave the area swollen, you can get permanent skin thickening, which leads to scar tissue,” he says.
After my massage, I felt my digestive system stimulated, and after about 48 hours, I noticed that my skin looked more radiant, while my body felt slimmer. It was a relaxing experience to boot. However, it should be noted, those on a mission to float out of the spa with relaxed muscles and relieved tension, might look to a different type of massage. This technique is meant to drive fluid in the direction of the lymph nodes with light pressure to jump start the process of cleansing. It’s purely to release built-up fluid and toxins in your body via the lymphatic system, so the intentionally soft up and down movement from the masseuse will do nothing to induce the well-known “ahhh” that comes with more traditional massage techniques like Deep Tissue and Shiatsu.
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